Jack Daniel’s opposes changing Tenn. whiskey law

File – In this May 20, 2009, file photo, Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., drills a hole in a barrel of whiskey in one of the aging houses at the distillery. Jack Daniel's is fighting efforts in the state Legislature to dial back the legal definition of Tennessee whiskey, including a provision that requires the spirit to be aged in new oak barrels. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)
File – In this May 20, 2009, file photo, Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., drills a hole in a barrel of whiskey in one of the aging houses at the distillery. Jack Daniel's is fighting efforts in the state Legislature to dial back the legal definition of Tennessee whiskey, including a provision that requires the spirit to be aged in new oak barrels. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – If it isn’t fermented in Tennessee from mash of at least 51 percent corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, filtered through maple charcoal and bottled at a minimum of 80 proof, it isn’t Tennessee whiskey. So says a year-old law that resembles almost to the letter the process used to make Jack Daniel’s, the world’s best-known Tennessee whiskey.

Now state lawmakers are considering dialing back some of those requirements they say make it too difficult for craft distilleries to market their spirits as Tennessee whiskey, a distinctive and popular draw in the booming American liquor business.

But the people behind Jack Daniel’s see the hand of a bigger competitor at work – Diageo PLC, the British conglomerate that owns George Dickel, another Tennessee whiskey made about 15 miles away.

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